The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research Group: Marine Biogeochemistry

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The Marine Biogeochemistry Group is a large and active international multidisciplinary research team studying the biogeochemistry of marine systems, both in the open ocean and in shelf seas. Our research contributes at the highest level to understanding of the ocean's role in global carbon, nutrient and other chemical cycles, anthropogenic effects on ocean function, and the ocean's role as a sponge for fossil fuel carbon dioxide.

Group Overview

Marine Biogeochemistry scientists work closely with colleagues in the Ocean Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems group of the NERC Strategic Research Division. Together and with other collaborators worldwide, we conduct innovative research to address major societal issues, including the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle, geoengineering solutions to climate change and the environmental management of the oceans. The Marine Biogeochemistry group includes some 50 staff and PhD students from all around the world.

Our Specific research foci include:

  • Chemical, biological and physical controls on primary production in the surface ocean, including the effects of natural iron fertilization, mesoscale mixing and ocean acidification.
  • Plankton and microbial dynamics, and biogeochemical cycling of key elements in the ocean water column (C, Fe, N, P, Si).
  • Vertical export of materials into the ocean's interior and processes in the 'twilight zone'.
  • Long-term change in marine ecosystems in relation to climate.
  • Assessing man's impact on ocean ecosystems.
  • Modelling key processes for improved understanding and prediction of ocean biogeochemistry and productivity.

Our research is underpinned by world-class technology including novel in situ chemical and biological sensors, ocean observatories, towed undulating platforms, profiling mooring arrays, bioassay incubation facilities, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and free floating sediment traps (PELAGRA). The group works with industry, for instance in the use of 'Ships of Opportunity' for global oceanography (SNOMS). We lead and participate in many research cruises every year.


Professor Toby Tyrrell

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Facilities linked to Marine Biogeochemistry include:

Research Vessels

We have two vessels based at NOCS that are available to staff and students of Ocean and Earth Science. R.V. Callista and R.V. Bill Conway.

Coral Reef Laboratory

The Coral Reef Laboratory propagates and studies more than 40 species of cnidarians in a multi-compartment aquarium system circulating more than 4200 litres of artificial seawater.

Scanning Electron Microscope Facility

This facility provides a range of services including, secondary electron and backscattered electron imaging, automated image acquisition, qualitative and quantitative elemental spot analysis and elemental mapping.

Stable Isotope Mass-spectrometry

The SIRMS laboratory is a research and teaching facility available for use by staff and students. Stable isotopes of various materials including carbonates, organic materials, water samples are measured.


The Thermo Scientific NEPTUNE Multi-Collector (MC) ICP-MS provides high precision measurement of isotopic ratios across a wide range of elements.

Carbonate Chemistry Facility

The NERC funded facility analyses seawater samples for carbonate variable, and has state-of-the-art instrumentation. We also undertake carbonate chemistry calculations following total alkalinity and dissolved inorganic carbon analysis, providing pCO2, pH and other carbonate chemistry variables.

Dissolved Organic Carbon and Total Dissolved Nitrogen Facility

This facility is used to analyse dissolves organic carbon and total dissolved nitrogen in seawater and freshwater samples. The NERC facility analyses seawater samples using state-of-the-art instrumentation (Shimadzu TOV V CPN-TN).


Postgraduate opportunities

PhD Project Titles

Microbial Nitrogen and Carbon Cycling in the Twilight Ocean: Pinpointing the Active Processes with Targeting Proteomics Approaches
Dr Phyllis Lam, Prof Tom Bibby, Paul Skipp (Biol. Sciences, UoS), Andy Rees (PML)

Carbon-trace metal interactions in the oceanic twilight zone
Prof Christopher Mark Moore, Prof Maeve Lohan, Dr Alex J Poulton, Dr Adrian Martin, Prof Samar Khatiwala (University of Oxford)

Unlocking the biotechnological potential of marine microbes: isolation of gene clusters from heterologous species by recombineering recovery (RR)
Dr John Gittins, Prof Duncan Purdie

Photosynthesis in a changing ocean
Prof Tom Bibby, Prof Christopher Mark Moore, Dr Anna Hickman, Dr Alex J Poulton, Paul Skipp (UoS)

Climate change impacts and differences between plankton communities in the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans
Dr Stephanie A Henson, Dr Anna Hickman, Lead Supervisor - Martin Edwards (SAHFOS), Sonia Batten (Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, Canada)

Observing the biological carbon pump with autonomous underwater vehicles
Dr Stephanie A Henson, Dr Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Dr Anna Hickman, Jan Kaiser (UEA), Matthew Palmer (NOC)

Mid-Ocean Ridge Iron Supply to the Ocean
Prof Maeve Lohan, Prof Rachael James, Professor Doug Connelly, Dr Alessandro Tagliabue (University of Liverpool)

Investigating the role of iron in long-term control of ocean primary production
Prof Toby Tyrrell, Prof Christopher Mark Moore, Prof Maeve Lohan



    Research Staff

    Staff MemberPrimary Position
    Eric P AchterbergProfessor
    Stephanie AllenPostgraduate research student
    Amani Ebraheem AlshattiPostgraduate research student
    Chelsey A BakerPostgraduate research student
    Michelle BarnettPostgraduate research student and Mayflower scholar
    Nicholas R BatesProfessor of Ocean Biogeochemistry
    Alison BaylayPostdoctoral Research Fellow
    Anna BelcherPostgraduate research student
    Adokiye BerepikiPostdoctoral Research Fellow
    Thomas BibbyProfessor of Biological Oceanography
    Jack BillingePostgraduate research student
    Elena BollatiPostgraduate research student
    Sargent BrayResearch Scientist
    Sarah BreimannPostgraduate research student
    Catherine BurdPostgraduate research student
    Emma CavanPostgraduate research student
    Matthew P CouldreyPostgraduate research student
    Gemma CrippsPostdoctoral Research Fellow
    Brian DickieSenior Experimental Officer
    Hannah DonaldPostgraduate research student
    Cynthia DumousseaudMarine Biogeochemistry Technician
    Manon Tiphaine DuretPostgraduate research student
    Anita FlohrResearch Fellow
    Glaucia FragosoPostgraduate research student
    Claudia H FryPostgraduate research student
    Jessika FuesselPostdoctoral Research Fellow
    John GittinsMarine and Molecular Biology Experimental Officer
    Maxime M GrandResearch Fellow
    Paul HackettPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
    Mathis HainNERC Independent Research Fellow
    Stephanie HensonHonorary Associate Professor
    Anna HickmanLecturer
    Anita L HollingsworthPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
    Rebecca HuggettPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
    Matthew P HumphreysSenior Research Assistant in Marine Carbonate Chemistry
    Harry JacksonPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
    Rachael JamesProfessor of Geochemistry
    Renata S KhouriPostgraduate research student
    Korinna KundePostgraduate research student
    Phyllis LamAssociate Professor in Microbial Biogeochemistry
    Jon LawrencePostgraduate research student
    François-Eric LegiretSENSEnet Marie Curie Fellow
    Maeve LohanProfessor of Marine Chemistry
    Vlad A MacoveiPostgraduate research student
    Kyle MayersPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
    Jack McNeillPostgraduate research student
    C Mark MooreProfessor
    Despo PolyviouResearch Fellow
    Nicola PrattSenior Marine Biology Technician
    Clare PrebblePostgraduate research student
    Duncan PurdieProfessor of Biological Oceanography
    Rose E StainthorpPostgraduate research student (MPhil/PhD SPITFIRE)
    Peter StathamEmeritus Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry
    Torben StichelVisiting Fellow
    Toby TyrrellProfessor in Earth System Science
    Wenhao WangPostgraduate research student
    Yingxu WuPostgraduate research student

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